Today is the thirty sixth anniversary of the infamous 'Battle of the Beanfield', when for those of you who don't know, The Travellers, and many of those wishing to attend Stonehenge were 'Smashed' by the Police, using excessive force and causing massive injury and damage to property and person. There's plenty been written about this and I suggest those of you too young to remember, look it up.....
As my partner pointed out to me this morning whilst listening to the 'Levellers' song of the same name, no one connected with Stonehenge and The Summer Solstice, who lived through that period can help feeling anything but passionate about Stonehenge and the way the 'Authorities' behaved both then and now.
I for my part (along with a large group of Bikers) who turned up at Stonehenge was escorted out of County by Wiltshire police, so knew nothing of what was going down until after the event, and ended up at 'The White Horse' later referred to as Stonehenge in exile, where Hawkwind played and I was joined by Tim Sebastian of the Secular Order of Druids, and the rest as they say is History.
Talking about History;
Through the late nineties we negotiated for a return to Stonehenge and for what I called Satellites, appropriate gathering points around the area to encourage less pilgrims to be drawn into the centre circle at any one time,
Forty five Gallon oil drums, converted into Braziers. like those used by The Miners and Firefighter 'Pickets' up and down the country, during the Strikes', To be set some distance out at each compass point. An Acoustic Stage for entertainment, a Gathering point and a Sacred Soap Box for Ranters and Poets.
These ideas were taken on board and having been suitably watered down, and scaled back due to 'health and safety' they were put in place and have been a great success since 'our' return in 2000.
The Authorities are now refusing their return this year, for the following reasons and I quote,
“I’m afraid I have to confirm that we won’t be able to have the Sanger stage this year, as due to the social distancing requirements, we aren’t able to have anything in place which encourages gathering. I will be asking Tony to give Dave a call tomorrow to let him know. We have also had to remove braziers and the gathering mat from our plans this year for the same reason.“
I have been forcefully arguing, how counter productive this is to their stated aims and that it will only exacerbate the problem making it virtually impossible to so called 'Social Distance' within the confines of the centre Circle when it is quite clearly and intentionally 'The only game in town'.
I can not promise to be successful in this endeavour but I can promise it will not be for lack of trying and I shall always fight for the right of Pilgrims (all who wish) to attend Stonehenge in Celebration of the Summer Solstice,
Blessings from The Front
© King Arthur Pendragon